In economic development, it needs a well-managed social and economic infrastructure to bring a good accessibility for the local people to settle down properly and investors to locate their business conveniently. Besides, there must be the right mechanism and channel for economic to be synergized in a robust way.
One of city’s main drives in growth is community project development from the private sector, which is done with good governance as well as active participation of all stakeholders such as City Hall, project developers, and the local people in clear zoning administration, development plans, and facilitation. This would bring the well-structured community with a combination of varieties such as housing, recreational park, business, tourist spots, and other sites. During the fellowship, we were joining various meetings at the City Hall, where the several issues in project development and budgeting, environmental concern, structural design, ongoing developers’ or investors’ problem solving process, and sustainability were raised in discussion.
Moreover, the City has used a good strategy to motivate project developers to come and invest in Middleton asides from giving a good facilitation and pro-investment environment. Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) program is very helpful to increase the number of project developers. TIF is a municipal development tool originally designed to help cities redevelop areas that were blighted, in need of rehabilitation or conservation work, or suitable for industrial development. Wisconsin’s TIF law permits cities and villages, and in some cased towns, to divert property taxes from their typical uses to subsidize private development in a specific areas. Property taxes generated from new or refurbished buildings within the designated area are then used to repay the debt. The greater the private investment and property value growth in the TIF district, the faster the borrowing is repaid. Thus, TIF plays a key role to develop this community economic and attract more project developers to the city. Embracing the sense of community and the connectivity of all the infrastructures also drives tourism development, and this combination will bring the economic prospects.
Besides a well-developed structure, there is a channel which links the business sector and local government, which brings the support of economic development of the locals. Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization which has no federal income tax and is not political-oriented. It collects people’s voice to promote life quality. It creates and maintains the business network and relation across diverse stakeholders through its channel of communication with city hall, its business members, schools, and community. It plans seeds for the future. The chamber facilitates the business to grow and gain more network by addressing the needs of the business community and serving as an efficient and valued clearinghouse of information, resources and networking opportunities. It advocates for the best business interests and a thriving business environment by providing business representation to local government and connection to important community groups. It also promotes its members and opportunities to the global community and informs its members through communication on community, government, and local business news. And it educates and shares practical information on the latest business trends, strategies, and further business skill development. Amazingly, we were invited to join a business social hour at a restaurant where all existing and emerging members of the Chamber are gathering for the business network. The environment was so opened for people to seek for the linkage and seize new opportunity in their business or even NGO purpose.
Chamber of Commerce is also in the connection with Inspire, Madison Regional Economic Program (MadREP). Inspire is a non-profit agency which helps facilitate the graduates to connect with the business sectors and brings the workforce to the employment through various means. It helps companies strengthen their relationship with business community, education community, and future workforce so that they could play a critical role in exploring new public-private approaches to closing the skills gap. Thus, as the overall picture, Inspire builds the connection with business and education committees, community-based committees, and other business employers through the collaborating work with Chamber of Commerce; it also fosters its connection with the students and graduates looking for jobs through experiential learning activities such as internship and apprenticeship, online-interaction, and a systematic merit-based approach of recruitment considering degree and soft skills. As a result, this agency has become a channel to help boost up the local employment, and this will bring the positive economic contribution.